CFSI Announces Annual Leadership Awards

The former fire chief responsible for getting the nation's first ordinance requiring sprinklers in new homes and a coalition promoting that life-saving system will be honored by the Congressional Fire Service Institute.

At the CFSI annual dinner in April, Ron Coleman will receive the Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award, sponsored by CFSI and Motorola.

The Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award will be bestowed on the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

In 1978, San Clemente Chief Coleman managed to get his city to do something no one had ever done -- sign a law requiring builders to put sprinklers in new homes.

After 13 years in San Clemente, Coleman left to take the reigns in Fullerton. Later, he served as California State Fire Marshal.

A consultant, Coleman is chairman of the National Fire Heritage Center. A museum containing historic documents is being established in Emmitsburg, Md. near the National Fire Academy.

The Mason Lankford award was established to recognize an individual who has been proactive at the local, state, or federal government level to improve fire/emergency services and life safety issues, according to the CFSI.

The late Mason "waged his best battles not on the fire ground, but in congressional and state legislative offices. He did not look at issues with any predisposition that favored one group over another. Mason sought a fire service that stressed preparation and readiness of all responders," CFSI officials noted.

The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, established in 1996, teaches people about the importance of sprinklers in homes.

The group will be receiving the Sarbanes leadership award sponsored by CFSI and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

The award recognizes organizations for their outstanding contributions to firefighter health and safety.

A non-profit organization, members of the coalition provide educational materials about installed home fire sprinkler systems, how they work, why they provide affordable protection and answers to common myths and misconceptions about their operation, according their website,

CFSI officials explained the award: "Selecting one organization for top honors does not in any way minimize the importance and contributions of the other programs. In fact, every fire department and organization throughout the country that are making conscious efforts to actively promote and address firefighter health and safety are deserving of recognition."

Earlier this year, CFSI officials announced that Congressman Peter King, R-NY, was named CFSI Legislator of the Year.

He currently serves Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee.